” If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies,.”
Having outlined the need to continue preaching the gospel in chapter 1, Paul now turns His attention to the reaction we should have once we have heard the gospel and accepted Christ. We have to keep in mind that these Philippian converts were coming out of Hinduism and Buddhism for the most part, so they have to be taught what is now expected from a Christian point of view.
I remember when I first got saved. I had traveled to my friend’s house in Iowa on vacation, and got saved the last day I was there. Driving the 1,500 miles home was quite a trip – but not much different for me. I still drank and smoked weed all the way home. I knew something had happened to me that night before I left – I felt it. But I did not know how or when I was supposed to change. When I got home, I started watching the 700 club, and learned I was supposed to read my bible, so I did. I knew I was supposed to go back to church, so I did. Long haired hippie sitting on the back pew – many knew who I was because I went back to the church I grew up in. Many people came up and greeted me, and it felt good. I had been an outcast for years, and now people were shaking my hand.
Changes came slowly, but they came. I became tamer, even though the drugs and drinking remained. 2 years later, God picked me up and moved me to Iowa to get married, leaving behind the bad stuff.
The thing is, there is consolation in Christ. He walks with us and sees us through the difficult areas in our lives, wanting us to change, but knowing it has to come in pieces. Some people are fortunate, and all that old baggage goes away at once. But most have to shed these things a little bit at a time. And Cist is there to console us, either Himself or through other believers.
And there is comfort of love. While I was gaining in my Christian walk, the love those people showed me as single guy was amazing. They really made me feel I was a part of the church, and welcomed me into some activities that were usually just for married folks. It was a great comfort to me, and kept me wanting more of this Christianity.
There is fellowship of the spirit. You can feel it anytime you run into another believer. There seems to be a bond right away, and the conversation can get started easily. Even as a new Christian, I could sense that Spirit n people. And the mercy they showed me from the depth of their hearts was amazing. They knew my past. I was pretty well known around town as a trouble maker and druggie. My mom had been the secretary of that church for years, and they knew what had happened to me. I was the bad egg, yet they showed me mercy and accepted me back without question.
I am forever indebted to the First Congregational Church of West Boylston, Mass for their love and support those 2 years. It was their love that has me where I am today – still serving Christ.
Lord, help me not to judge any new convert in Christ, but to love them as my church loved me. I was far from perfect, and God had a lot of work to do with me. But they took me in and loved me and showed me mercy, and that kept me going for you. Help me display that same kind of love to those I might come in contact with who are just starting to walk with you.